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Filling jobs that no one wants

 Adapted from The Globe and Mail April 25, 2011

Despite perqs, prestige and pay, it can still be difficult sometimes to attract good people to key positions. While we often assume it’s the tedious, disgusting and low-salary jobs that are difficult to fill, this isn't the case, as Robin O’Connor, owner of Calgary-based Staffing Strategies, knows well. Her most recent challenge was finding accountants and administrators for the property management industry.

“When the positions become more technical, it becomes a lot more difficult,” she said. These senior positions “are usually tougher roles and more demanding because of the whole knowledge base, the need to understand the industry and its complexities.” 

While it may seem counter-intuitive, even in a shaky economy, “it can be a bit of a fight to attract good people,” she added.

For Graham Wilson, a Toronto-based recruitment partner at Cadre, a staffing agency that specializes in the engineering sector, “depending on the company, the project, the travel and things like that, positions become more difficult to fill. And with a shift situation, that becomes a lifestyle choice, where if you have a family or are not used to it, it can be a real challenge,” he said.

Nonetheless, there are solutions out there for companies experiencing high turnover or difficulties in hiring. For Ms. O’Connor, whether they are with an agency or a human resources department, the recruiter’s approach is important. “If they have a negative attitude towards it, that really impacts how the position is perceived by others,” she said.

“The words a company chooses when it writes up a job posting are incredibly important,” she added. “They’re the first impression of an organization, of the job itself. So if all you’re doing is using facts to describe the position, and there’s no enthusiasm, no indication of ‘we’re a great company to work with, and here’s why,’ that can really hinder a recruit right off the get-go.”

Using several recruitment agencies for one position can also be counter-productive. Potential hires will get several calls for the same job and wonder what’s wrong.

See the entire feature from The Globe and Mail:


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